Statement made on 02 December 2010 by Senator Elizabeth Hubley
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley:
Honourable senators, two years ago, on December 3, 2008, in Oslo, Norway, Canada joined 93 other countries in signing the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions. This historic treaty not only prohibits the use, stockpiling and distribution of cluster munitions, but also aims to provide assistance to victims and affected communities.
Sadly, it is not difficult to recognize a community affected by cluster munitions. Across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, these communities are marked by loss: individuals missing arms and legs, and families missing loved ones.
Like land mines, cluster munitions are indiscriminate, small bombs. They lurk unexploded in farmers' fields, in backyards and along rivers and roads, posing an ongoing threat to civilians years after a conflict has ended. Moreover, as they are often brightly coloured, they are particularly dangerous to children, who often mistake them for toys.
Fortunately, progress is being made. To date, 46 countries have ratified the convention and 108 have signed it. Further to this, on August 1, 2010, the Convention on Cluster Munitions came into force as binding international law.
While the international community is moving forward to end the suffering caused by these devastating weapons, Canada is not. We have yet to ratify the convention.
I can only hope that, by this time next year, we will be not only celebrating the third anniversary of this treaty, but, finally, Canada's ratification of it as well.